The new album from Melkbelly, Nothing Valley, out on Wax Nine on Friday, is a record that's full of energy and sparks of wild creativity. That it also sounds like a few classic alt-rock pioneers doesn't hurt either.
If opener one-two-punch "Off The Lot" and "Kid Kreative" echoes stuff from Bettie Serveert and The Breeders, an astute listener can also hear the parts where Melkbelly add their own unique spin on these tested college rock styles. Elsewhere, the languid "Greedy Gull" marries bits of Goo-era Sonic Youth to the Melkbelly formula. Even more successful is "Helloween" which offers a more expansive form of this sort of thing. This Chicago-based band are not necessarily re-inventing the wheel here, but they have managed to find a way to invest this all with a lot of fire and passion.
Melkbelly's music feels familiar and I didn't mind that when I listened to this record. Instead, I sort of enjoyed how pieces of Nothing Valley reminded me of bands I really liked. And I especially enjoyed the pieces here that seemed to offer new spins on this sort of music. Melkbelly work up a tremendous amount of energy here and there's enough distinctive material to make me recommend this one to fans of stuff like PJ Harvey, Th' Faith Healers, or Wussy.
Melkbely is playing Washington, D.C. next week at Comet Ping Pong, Wednesday, October 18. Comet is on Connecticut Avenue. Dig it!
[Photo: Lenny Gilmore]